The May Gap

North Garden gone quietAfter the tulips have gone by and before … everything else starts up in the North Garden, we cross The May Gap. It’s almost as if the garden is taking one last deep inhale before singing the high note of early summer – a note that sustains at least until … The July Gap. Gail and I annually focus at least 73% of the sum total of our garden design energy on creating and maintaining the look of peak bloom in that garden throughout the growing season but we are thwarted by late May. North Garden May GapAccording to Gail, it was my predecessor, Sheila, who coined the phrase – probably with a sigh of resignation. There must be something that would bridge it. Perhaps we could tuck in cool season annuals – if we weren’t so consumed with moving and planting perennials in all the other gardens… Perhaps there are 3 or 4 early early blooming perennials we just haven’t thought of yet – that don’t take up too much room or are otherwise handsome for the rest of the season. Do you have any suggestions?

Clematis integrifoliaWaiting for the Nectaroscordum, foxglove, amsonia, and lady's mantle

But just because the North Garden is on the quiet side doesn’t mean the rest of the property isn’t shouting out. Even though I’m here everyday to witness the transformation, I’m still amazed that -all of a sudden- it’s definitely fully late spring already – I would even call it early summer since Memorial Day is right around the corner. If you haven’t come to see the dove tree (Davidia involucrata) yet, ahem… what are you waiting for? It might not be as floriferous as last year but it’s still a beautiful beautiful thing. The empress trees (Paulownia tomentosa) are starting to scent the air with ode de cough syrup – good thing the blooms are gorgeous candelabras or I might not like them at all. And the tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipfera) buds will be open any day – I’m determined to catch them this year. Here is more evidence of visit worthy vistas:

Behind the SummerhouseEnkianthus campanulatus

Red-veined enkianthus (Enkianthus campanulatus) up closeAllium and peonies

Rock Garden wet slope redo phase 1 - divide and conquerAnd there are other May transformations around the property as well: New trees and shrubs planted, sculpture installed and gardens in the process of renewal. Rock Garden wet slope redo phase 2 - all hands for plantingEvery gardener knows there’s no lull now in the workload and not enough time in the day to accomplish everything on the list. Although we’ll switch gears next week from planting perennials to annuals, we can’t lose any speed. But if I happen to go quiet and miss a post or two now and then, you could call it The May Gap and know I’ll be gathering breath (and pictures) for a big shout.

Calycanthus floridus (Carolina allspice) saying wahoo!

Do you and your garden bridge The May Gap?